Residential piano courses at Canel, a characterful 16th-century fortified farmhouse near the hamlet of Thézac in the beautiful Lot-et-Garonne region of South West France.

Participants are guaranteed a warm welcome, comfortable accommodation, fine food – and inspirational tuition from James Lisney.

The ideal setting for a piano course. Excellent musical facilities, idyllic surroundings and expert hospitality. I cannot imagine a more luxurious piano retreat…

James Lisney


Four of the days will start with a presentation on a range of subjects such as effective practice strategies, technical regimes, a primer for harmonic understanding, style points in particular composers, art of pedalling etc. The exact list will be customised once requests are confirmed from participating students.

Masterclass tuition – three sessions of minimum 30 minutes per student, plus over eleven hours of observable classes during the week

Individual lessons – three sessions of 45 minutes

Performance – the opportunity to give an early evening recital and take part in the final concert. James will give at least one recital during the week.

…what emerges in the course of a week is a radiant affirmation of the pianistic art and the repertoire. Throw in some aperitifs, summer heat, a midnight swim under starlight, the sound of a commercial solicitor practising Scriabin, and the sense of having entered an enchanted realm is complete. For lovers of the piano, this is the closest you will get to heaven on earth.

Conrad Williams, author


For the salon, a superb Bechstein (2019) and a recently reconditioned Yamaha C5. Practice will be available on a mix of acoustic and digital instruments. There are always more pianos than pianists…



James can give lessons or further support (email or online) in advance of the course to ensure that students make the most of their time at Canel. In addition, there will be social events in London for course participants – with opportunities to perform.

James’ masterclasses are always good natured and informative with a strong sense of musical camaraderie



All students and partners are accommodated on site in spacious rooms benefitting from high class ensuite bathrooms and  effective WIFI. There is a heated outdoor swimming pool.

The accommodation comprises

  • two ensuite rooms inside the grand house
  • a one bedroom gîte, with sitting room and kitchenette
  • two double bedroom gîtes, with sitting rooms and kitchenettes


A continental breakfast and delicious lunch will be complemented by evening aperitifs and a three-course dinner. Wines with dinner and all refreshments are included in the course fee.

On two evenings the group will visit local restaurants


There is plenty to keep a non-playing partner occupied as Canel is set in stunning countryside with walks and cycling immediately accessible from the grounds. Further afield, there are countless attractive bastide towns such as St Cirq Lapopie, Tournon d’Agenais, Cordes-sur-Ciel etc. Cahors is a major centre and well worth visiting.


Contact James Lisney